How to plan an English lesson for children in Guatemala

How to plan an English lesson 


We have many resources that our teachers can use to help them plan their lessons both in the public schools and in our Learning Center. Some of our volunteers have never taught before, but not to worry – we have plenty of resources and ideas for you to use. 


Teaching in the public schools in Santiago


When we teach in the public schools, we have guidelines that we follow for each lesson. There is a master binder in the office for all of our teachers to review and use as a resource to help them prepare for each class. Generally, each class has a mix of vocabulary and basic grammar concepts. Some of the topics that we teach are the colors, fruits and vegetables, descriptions of people, school supplies, how to introduce yourself, animals, and many more. 


Lessons generally include a warm-up that can be a song or a short game – many of our teachers like to get creative here and do different activities to make the students feel welcome and comfortable. The next part of the class is focused on vocabulary words, and then an activity to help the students practice and remember these words. Each lesson is between 30-40 minutes, which varies depending on the school. 


Lesson Planning in Guatemala

Lesson Planning in Guatemala


Teaching at the One, Two…Tree! Learning Center


We use the same structure and resources to plan lessons for our Learning Center. We also include other topics, such as countries and continents, life on a farm, family members, the environment, and more. Since we have 1 hour to teach each lesson at the Center, we take advantage of that extra time and we practice vocabulary through more games and songs. 


An English lesson example 


I’m Teacher Gracia. I’ve been volunteering with One Two… Tree! for a year, and this was a lesson I planned for our teen group at the Center (kids between 10-14 years old) to learn about the Natural Wonders of the World. 


Teaching English in Santiago Guatemala

Teaching English in Santiago Guatemala


Every day, we start by taking attendance during the first 5 minutes. Then, I like to start with an activity or something interactive to get the students engaged right away. 


Getting creative with lesson planning


We had previously learned a song in our Countries and Continents lesson which went well, so before the class, I searched for a few new songs on YouTube and I found one that I thought the students would love. 


English Lesson Planning

English Lesson Planning


I brought my phone to class, then I played the song a few times and asked the students to write down the lyrics in their notebooks. They absolutely loved it! 


After that, for each new lesson in the Wonders of the World module, we would sing together to start the class: They are Asia and Africa, North and South America, Antarctica and Europe, finally Australia.   


After this activity, I handed them a worksheet about the “Natural Wonders of the World” (a free worksheet I downloaded from an educational website We read the new words, practiced the vocabulary and learned the meaning in Spanish. Then the students had time to complete the worksheet, matching the pictures with words such as forest, cave, river, and more. 


For this lesson, I also needed a computer to show the students a video about the 8 wonders of the world, so I brought my laptop. I put subtitles in English on and after each place was featured in the video, I paused it to give the students time to match each place like Niagara Falls, Mount Everest, and Amazon River, with the country they are located in on their corresponding worksheet. This helped the students practice the new vocabulary in different ways and solidified their understanding of the concepts through interactive methods.


Teaching English in Guatemala

Teaching English in Guatemala


Having fun with the students


After these activities, we had some extra time which we used to decorate a folder the students use to keep track of all the activities and worksheets we’ve completed over the past 4 months. 


We always finish the class talking about the topic we learned or playing a game and having a good time. Once the hour is finished, we say goodbye and see you next time! 


English Students in Guatemala

English Students in Guatemala


Does this sound fun and interesting to you? 


Volunteer with us this year!  


We are seeking more English teacher volunteers to come to Santiago, Guatemala to help us expand our programs, reach, and impact on the community. 

If you would like to learn more about volunteering with us, please send us an email to: